Character matters more than skills when hiring good employees

21 Mar 2006

Joel Welsh

Joel Welsh, Chief Community Officer, is also the CEO of a new startup company ... Showcase U. Joel shares behind the scenes key decisions being made in the "Birth of a Startup" and knocks it out of the park to provide his own entrepreneurial wisdom.

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Experience is highly over rated. So says the 2006 Stanford Business School Entrepreneurship Conference panel of recent graduates, venture capitalists, and established entrepreneurs.

I agree.

This character over skills argument applies to both the entrepreneurs who are starting a business (you don’t necessarily need to have experience in a business to be successful at it) and to those that you hire to build out your star team of people.

Oh sure, there are exceptions to every rule. My teammate Chris just casually mentioned passing by my office that he’ll keep the character over skills rule in mind next time he’s looking for a heart surgeon. But we’re talking about starting new businesses here, not choosing a mechanic, whether it’s for your car or your hip replacement. (outta my way Chris, I’m on a blogging roll here)

What do you think? You’re starting up a company and you need to put together a team. Are you going with experience or character?

I’m certainly looking for a specific skill set for each role, but when it comes down to it I’ll take a rookie with enthusiasm over a seasoned veteran with habits every time.

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